WHO ARE WE?
We are Africaniwa. A very diverse tribe where through the sacred and the fine art of storytelling, we endeavour to speak one common language.The language of unity in diversity.
Established October 2020,in the UK as a programme under the EnT Foundation,
Our mission is to partner with communities using diverse forms of creativity as a tool to promote social cohesion.
On a monthly basis since our inception, we have had the utmost privilege to hold the space where ordinary people, through the power of photos, are able to share extraordinary stories about their lived or living experience as a tool to illuminate their own reality, to challenge perceptions but most importantly, as a tool for social change and social justice.
So believe me when I say, with my eyes I have seen the dignity of a man, stripped off him by the power of a story and the dignity of a people, restored back to them by the power of a story.
We believe the human story should be central to our understanding of the world and as so…
If you do not tell your story, be sure someone else would and they might not tell it right. Whilst individuality lies at the core of a story, a good story is…..
always a shared story, a shared history but most importantly, our shared humanity. For when people are forgotten, their humanity is lost. Many people call it many things but us, we just call it Africaniwa-my lens, our story
WHY CHOCOLATE HAS A NAME.
As the founder of Africaniwa, bravely holding the space for others to tell their stories, I knew that at some point, if I did not tell my story, someone else was and they were likely not to tell it right.
I was born in Ghana. A country that has the image of cocoa pods hanging from its tree clearly imprinted on its legal tender.I grew up in Tema, the home of Ghana's Cocoa Processing Company Limited but quite importantly, I also come from a lineage of incredible story tellers who are also cocoa farmers.
My grandmother Akosua Otenewaa Onyamaka the first in line, represents the many small to medium scale family owned cocoa farms across Ghana,Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Cameroon. Countries in Africa producing up to about 70% of the world's cocoa beans.
Believe me when I say, I am the cocoa story but all that was going to change the day I saw a woman.A woman in a red facemask with her friends from York Fair Trade Forum and the Fairtrade National Campaigner Committee (NCC).
When Nestle announced no longer to use Fairtrade beans in the making of its KitKat bar, they thought they were going to sneak past us but Fairtrade campaigners who are always on the alert like meerkats noticed and took a very unpopular stance. These ordinary people, most of whom looked nothing like my kinfolks, took to the streets, the highways, the byways, the subways and the alleyways of the internet and did something rather extraordinary.They amassed 285,000 people who through their signatures, marched the cyber space with one solemn declaration " I STAND WITH FARMERS". They knew that decision was going to entrench an already fortified system which did not favour farmers. They knew that cocoa farmers were going to be whitewashed, erased, deleted and omitted from the chocolate story.Farmers who should be at the core of the multi-million industry of chocolate making. Quite simply, they knew that when a people are forgotten, their humanity is lost and that was the day, the cocoa story ceased to be my story. It became a shared story, a shared history but most importantly, our shared humanity.
About a year ago at Africaniwa, we told the story; CHOCOLATE HAS A NAME and came face-to-face with the harrowing truth when Maame Boadua shared her lived experience as a cocoa farmer.
Today we tell another story that seeks to restore dignity back to cocoa growing communities by incorporating chocolate making into their curriculum at schools in the heart of Ghana's cocoa growing region.
Most people in cocoa growing communities cannot afford the luxury of spending on a bar of chocolate.
This is not accidental or incidental. It is historical, deeply structural, unfair and unjust. A system carefully designed to leave the cocoa farming communities impoverished. We believe that in a fairer world, children in cocoa growing communities should be able to join children in the UK who enjoy between 80 to 90 million chocolate eggs at Easter.
With your support, this project “CHOCOLATE HAS A NAME" seeks to equip these cocoa growing communities to be able to mitigate and adapt to the uncertainties of the climate crisis by learning to put value on their produce at the basic level of their education and also to ensure that children in these communities are assured, a more nourished nutrition and equip the many teenage moms who are unable to continue their education with a skill set to support themselves and their babies.
Quite simply, this is climate justice for cocoa farmers as they wade through the uncertainties of the climate crisis, quite simply, this is mitigation against a possible refugee crisis. Quite simply, this is decolonizing chocolate and having a more nuanced chocolate story.
This is an invitation on a journey to justice for cocoa growing communities. A journey to STAND WITH FARMERS, a journey where people are priced over their produce and the thumbprint is of more importance than the bar code. It's an invitation to support cocoa growing communities to enjoy the fruit of their labour,write and rewrite themselves into the chocolate story, change the script and own the narrative because CHOCOLATE HAS A NAME.
We are working with partners on the ground in Ghana - our Africaniwa representative, cocoa360, the Tarkwa Breman girls school and Dekocraft, a chocolate maker in Accra, to deliver a syllabus that incorporates training in chocolate making to teachers and pupils. The children will learn the history of cocoa growing in Ghana, the nutritional properties, and how the pods they see growing all around them are transformed into a delicious treat sold the world over. This will be a history lesson, a geography lesson, a home economics lesson and a business studies lesson. They will connect with cocoa and chocolate, make their own delicious treat and learn how to add value to the farming life that is their legacy.
Our total budget to get the project off the ground is £10,000 which we are asking you to crowdfund with us in three stages.
Stage One - Spring 2022 - buying and transporting all the equipment needed to set up a permanent workshop in the school, so that current and future generations of girls can take part in these lessons - £4,000
Stage Two - Summer 2022 - Training teachers in the art of chocolate making and providing materials to explain the history of cocoa in Ghana in an engaging way - £3,000
Stage Three - Winter 2022 - All the ingredients needed for the first 200 girls to learn chocolate making, make their own chocolate and take it home - £3,000
We would especially invite fair trade communities and businesses in the UK and around the world to join together and help make this happen. Some examples of what your donation will fund:
£8 buys a set of measuring cups
£15 buys a set of chocolate moulds
£25 buys a set of measuring scales
£60 buys foil for wrapping the chocolates
£100 buys a mechanical cocoa bean grinder
£150 trains a teacher in the art of chocolate making
£500 pays for an animated film to tell the story of cocoa in Ghana
£1000 buys a fridge to cool and store the chocolate
Thank you for supporting Chocolate Has A Name.